Renovated bungalow snags buyer

The Sale

Name: Mark Gallagher, 50, a consultant

The home: A three-bedroom, two-bath bungalow built in 1930.

Where: Atlanta's Virginia-Highland neighborhood

Why he sold: Gallagher, who lived in the home since 2001 and renovated it, decided to move after his divorce.

Time on market: 202 days

Original price: $699,000

Sale price: $605,000

What it took: "I knew at the time that it was a buyer's market, so you really had to plan for it," he said. Although Gallagher had renovated the home, he tried to make sure the home would remain at a median price in the market, instead of overpriced. In the end, it came down to pricing. As he dropped the price, the number of interested buyers increased.

Some agents would call about the listing and ask if he would entertain a lower price. Gallagher said he would not talk numbers if they were unwilling to put an offer in writing. “Then you find out where the rubber meets the road. You find out if somebody is just kicking tires. [A buyer] that comes to the table and has a strong bank behind them and strong credit … if they talk about numbers, it is worth working with them to get it to the table.”

Potential stumbling block: The mass of financial documentation required on the part of the buyer, who was from out of the country, caused some nervousness about the deal going through. "It finally came down to where the [buyer] called me and it was crystal clear," Gallagher said.

Gallagher, who has a son, 9-year-old Camden, purchased a home in Morningside in July.

Seller's hint: Make sure your marketing materials look professional. The packet created by his agent, Bradford Smith of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, included professional photos. "It's just like when you get a brochure from the beach resort, and the room doesn't look like anything in the pictures," Gallagher said. "It's not doing any justice to have pictures that exaggerate your home. It does help to have pictures that capture a few of the key emotional points that you know your buyer is going to walk in and say, yeah, this is it."